Foundation to pause Pitch Piqua for 2023-2024 season

Pitch Piqua, March 2, 2023, at Fort Piqua Plaza Banquet Center

The Piqua Community Foundation announced today that it is pausing its Pitch Piqua charitable grant pitch competition while the Board of Directors and donors evaluate the initiative’s impact and funding support.

Since Pitch Piqua was launched in 2021, The Foundation has distributed more than $133,000 in grants and pass-through community donations to the six finalist organizations that participated in the initiative’s two seasons.

“We launched Pitch Piqua with two years of strong support and knew we would evaluate its effectiveness after that time,” said Emily E. Shawler, president of The Piqua Community Foundation Board of Directors. “We want to allow time for our top-scoring organizations who earned the $50,000 top grant awards over the past two years the opportunity to demonstrate the impact from their respective projects as we consider how The Foundation continues with Pitch Piqua or another initiative.”

2021-2022 Pitch Piqua finalist teams

2022-2023 Pitch Piqua finalist teams

Piqua Compassion Network secured the $50,000 grant award in the 2021-2022 initiative for The Power Project, which aims to create a center for teens to access basic needs resources, fitness and education. The top grant in the 2022-2023 initiative went to Edison State Community College, which will offer virtual reality equipment for law enforcement agencies and students, as well as community partners, to train for active intruder situations.

The three finalists of the Pitch Piqua program receive professional development training in project management and storytelling, as well as support from various Piqua community leaders as they prepare to make their pitch at a community event in March at Fort Piqua Plaza Banquet Center. The initiative also encourages community involvement through voting via pass-through donations to the finalist team of the donor’s choice.

Pitch Piqua, March 2, 2023, at Fort Piqua Plaza Banquet Center

“Pitch Piqua has truly embodied the love of our community and enthusiasm for local philanthropy we hoped it would!” Shawler said. “We appreciate the overwhelming support for this initiative and welcome feedback from our community as we evaluate Pitch Piqua’s future and other opportunities to continue to connect and serve our donors, nonprofit partners and the Piqua community.”

To learn more about Pitch Piqua, visit To share feedback with The Foundation regarding the initiative, email Executive Director Michelle Perry at

Nonprofit organizations secure more than $65,000 at Pitch Piqua

Edison State Community College wins top prize at charitable grant pitch event

The Piqua Community Foundation disbursed more than $65,000 in grant and pass-through community donations to the three Pitch Piqua finalist organizations at the charitable grant pitch competition March 2. The finalist teams presented to a crowd of enthusiastic attendees at The Fort Piqua Plaza Banquet Center.

The top-scoring organization, Edison State Community College, secured the $50,000 grant award for its proposed project. The other two finalist organizations, Upper Valley Career Center and Health Partners Free Clinic, were each awarded a $5,000 unrestricted award. The funding for the grant awards is supplied by The French Oil Mill Machinery Company Fund, The Richard Donnelly Personal Gifting Account, donors Steven K. & Gail P. Staley, and unrestricted funds of The Piqua Community Foundation.

“It was an incredible evening. I love the energy in the room and the way that the community rallies around these finalist teams, the amazing work that they’re already doing and their vision for more,” said Michelle Perry, executive director of The Piqua Community Foundation. “I’m blown away by the enthusiasm and love for our community that Pitch Piqua embodies.”

Edison State Community College, Koverman Staley Dickerson Insurance, Miami Valley Steel Service, Inc., Park National Bank and Premier Health | Upper Valley Medical Center sponsored the event that had an affordable ticket cost to maximize involvement in local philanthropy.

The 2023 Pitch Piqua judges were Andrew S. Monnin, Jeff Pedro Jr., Rebecca Sousek and Amy Welker. They evaluated the project concepts on their impact on Piqua residents, evidence of a demonstrated community need, readiness for launch, sustainability of the project and quality of the presentation.

The community acted as the collective fifth judge as supporters voted for their favorite project(s) with a pass-through donation of $10 or more. In all, the organizations earned more than $5,100 in pass-through funds to support their mission.

Students in the Region 3 Business Professionals of America program, under the direction of Dara Hardyman, acted as the Tally Team to calculate the scores and donations.

“We are so thankful for all of the sponsors, fundholders and volunteers who work to make Pitch Piqua an enjoyable evening for our community and a great opportunity for the three finalist teams. Pitch Piqua is all about building capacity within our nonprofit community, making a huge impact with Foundation assets and engaging the community around local philanthropy. We wish all three teams luck as they continue to pursue launching their projects!”

— Emily E. Shawler, president of The Piqua Community Foundation Board of Directors

Edison State Community College, represented by Laura Larger, Criminal Justice Coordinator/Instructor, & Dr. Andy Runyan, Dean of Professional & Technical Programs, won the $50,000 top prize for their project Prepared at the event culminating the initiative. In addition, supporters donated more than $1,700 in pass-through donations to the organization.

Edison State’s project Prepared will help protect our community by providing equipment for our own cadets, law enforcement agencies, K-12 school staff, and staff from local businesses to train for an active intruder situation using scenarios created in virtual reality.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to pitch our project and humbled that we were chosen from among the projects that are all deserving of support from the community,” the team said. “Edison State’s training for future police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be more engaging and will better prepare them for critical situations they may face. We will work to offer that same level of excellent training to our partners in local law enforcement agencies, schools and organizations.”

Upper Valley Career Center, represented by Tim Cordonnier, Instructional Supervisor, & Sara Plozay, Cosmetology Instructor/SkillsUSA Advisor, secured a $5,000 unrestricted grant and more than $800 in pass-through donations for their proposal to launch a mobile salon.

The Salon @ 8811 Beauty in Motion will be a mobile learning salon used in the community for students to provide services to people at no cost. Students will enhance their skills and community members will practice self-care, building their confidence and mental well-being.

“Pitch Piqua was an incredible event! We can honestly say that every proposal would make a significant impact on the community and surrounding areas!” the team said. “Congratulations to Edison State Community College and Health Partners Free Clinic! It has been amazing to work with you. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our story and passion to make a positive impact on the community. A huge thank you to The Piqua Community Foundation for this amazing opportunity!”

Health Partners Free Clinic, represented by JoAnn Barhorst, Certified Nurse Practitioner, & Deborah Miller, Executive Director, won a $5,000 unrestricted grant and more than $2,500 in pass-through donations for their proposal.

Health Partners Free Clinic will save lives by providing high-quality breast and cervical cancer screenings. Patients will receive patient education and, if needed, referrals to specialists for treatment and follow-up care. All services will be provided at no cost to the patient.

“Health Partners was privileged to participate in the Pitch Piqua competition this year. We can never thank The Piqua Community Foundation, the other team members, our staff and donors enough for all the tremendous support throughout the entire process,” the team said. “We didn’t win the pitch this year, but this process has strengthened our resources and our team in preparation for the time when we do open a women’s health clinic.”

The Foundation will remain a partner with these organizations as they continue to seek community support for their projects.

To learn more about the Pitch Piqua presenters and the initiative of The Piqua Community Foundation, visit

The Piqua Community Foundation honors Hinsch Community Service Awardees

The Piqua Community Foundation presented three local volunteers with The Scott J. Hinsch and Margaret W. Hinsch Community Service Awards on Monday.

The following volunteers received the awards in surprise presentations:

  • Russell Fashner, Friends of the Piqua Parks
  • Krista Abernathy, St. James Episcopal Church
  • Adele Penrod, Piqua Parents as Teachers


The recipients received a glass plaque to commemorate the occasion, and the nominating nonprofit agency received a $2,000 unrestricted grant from The Hinsch Family Fund of The Piqua Community Foundation, in recognition of that outstanding volunteer. The Hinsch awards are offered annually, typically to one male and one female volunteer. The committee chose two Margaret W. Hinsch awardees this year among a competitive field of nominees.

Scott J. & Margaret W. Hinsch

Cari Beth Noah and 11-year-old Jack Noah, granddaughter and great-grandson of the awards’ namesakes, respectively, presented the awards to recognize their legacy of service to the Piqua community. Cari Beth Noah also represented her parents, John and Marsha Hinsch, and her aunt, Dr. Linda Hinsch Campbell, who founded the fund and were unable to attend the presentations.

“The Hinsch family and The Hinsch Family Fund committee are touched by this year’s awardees’ contributions to their respective organizations in 2022,” John Hinsch said. “We are inspired by the incredible dedication of these volunteers to rally around their community. We are so humbled to share these awards in memory of my parents who loved and served Piqua all their lives.”

The Scott J. Hinsch Community Service Award winner – G. Russell Fashner

G. Russell Fashner, Friends of the Piqua Parks

Ruth A. Koon, president of Friends of the Piqua Parks, nominated Fashner for his efforts to renovate the concession area at Pitsenbarger Park in 2022. Fashner drew up the construction plans, secured the necessary permits and coordinated concrete work.

The nomination included a letter of support from Amy Welker, assistant city manager for the City of Piqua.

“Having this newly renovated space for gathering will showcase the community pride in Piqua and will be a welcoming area to our out-of-town guests,” Welker wrote. “Russ exemplifies this type of pride in our community, and his efforts surely deserve to be recognized.”

The Margaret W. Hinsch Community Service Award winner – Krista Abernathy

Krista Abernathy, St. James Episcopal Church

Barney Littlejohn, treasurer/vestry for St. James Episcopal Church, nominated Abernathy for working every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and coordinating the many projects of the church as the volunteer secretary. Abernathy creates publications, coordinates winter accessory and sock distributions, taught arts and crafts to the congregation’s children and coordinated the little library and little pantry boxes outside of the church.

“Her creative efforts in the several programs above ensured that St. James had a Piqua presence in the downtown area each and every day of 2022,” Littlejohn wrote in his nomination. “St. James is very grateful for Krista’s time and talent.”

The Margaret W. Hinsch Community Service Award winner – Adele Penrod

Adele Penrod, Piqua Parents as Teachers

Kathy Booher and Kim Lawson, directors of Piqua Parents as Teachers, nominated Penrod, who served as the first director of the organization and now volunteers her time on the board of directors. In 2022, Penrod coordinated two quarter auction fundraisers, helped to relocate the office and playroom, and served as a spokesperson for the organization’s programs.

The nomination included a letter of support from Cheryl Buecker, who serves on the Piqua Parents as Teachers board with Penrod.

“Her strengths as a board member are numerous as she continues to support every part of the program,” Buecker wrote. “She continues to be a guiding light.”

The Hinsch Family Fund committee, the nominators and family members of the awardees presented the awards Monday. To watch livestream videos and view more photos from the awards presentations, visit The Piqua Community Foundation’s Facebook page.

For more information about The Piqua Community Foundation and The Scott J. Hinsch and Margaret W. Hinsch Community Service Awards, visit

Standard grant cycle open through March 31

Fourth-grade students at Piqua Catholic School using an interactive white board supported by a grant from The Foundation

The Piqua Community Foundation is accepting standard grant applications for its spring grant cycle through March 31.

The Foundation accepts project-based grant applications twice a year from nonprofit organizations serving Piqua residents with a mission that is religious, educational, scientific, literary or charitable in nature. Applicants must provide documentation demonstrating the organization’s 501(c)(3) or equivalent tax-exempt status.

The spring 2023 distribution is part of The Foundation’s semiannual grant cycles from unrestricted funds. The Foundation’s Distribution Committee makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval based on the grant application and review process.

The Piqua Community Foundation’s grant program guidelines and application form can be found by visiting Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the guidelines and then confirm their organization’s eligibility by emailing or calling 937.615.9080.

Foundation accepting 2023 scholarship programs

The Piqua Community Foundation has opened its 2023 scholarship season and welcomes applications from local students.

Scholarships through The Foundation are made possible by fund donors who value continuing education and wish to give back to the community. Each of the scholarships offered is distinct in its guidelines directed by the donor when the fund was established.

“We are proud to serve as the conduit for the several scholarship programs we administer,” said Foundation Executive Director Michelle Perry. “In 2022, The Foundation distributed $126,000 in scholarship awards in support of local students furthering their education.”

Scholarship information is available through local schools’ guidance counselors or by visiting Questions about The Foundation’s scholarship programs may be directed to or 937.615.9080.

Donna Hangen joins Foundation team

Donna Hangen

The Piqua Community Foundation is proud to announce the hire of Donna Hangen as executive assistant.

Hangen is a lifelong resident of Brookville, where she resides with her husband, and has a grown son who lives in Union. She has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit field, most recently as a gift processing specialist at the Wright State University Foundation and an administrative assistant supporting the Dayton Metro Library Foundation.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in music and a graduate degree in humanities from Wright State University and is a trained therapeutic musician. A trained flutist, she has been a member of the Piqua Civic Band for over seven years and has played with the Springboro Wind Symphony for two years.

“I am excited to share my skills and experience and work with the donors, board and partners of The Foundation,” Hangen said.

Michelle Perry, executive director of The Foundation, said she and the Board of Directors are excited to welcome Donna as the organization continues to grow and increase its impact on the community.

“Donna’s experience with foundations will prove invaluable to our work to support nonprofit organizations serving Piqua and help donors achieve their charitable giving goals,” Perry said. “We are delighted to welcome her to the team!”

The Foundation is located at 209 W. Ash St., Piqua. To learn about The Piqua Community Foundation’s programs, visit

Foundation opens nominations for Hinsch Community Service Awards

The Piqua Community Foundation is now accepting nominations for The Scott J. Hinsch & Margaret W. Hinsch Community Service Awards.

The Hinsch Family Fund of The Piqua Community Foundation offers The Hinsch Community Service Awards annually to recognize outstanding volunteers for charitable organizations. Two awards will be made each year:

  • The Scott J. Hinsch Community Service Award to one male nominee
  • The Margaret W. Hinsch Community Service Award to one female nominee

The Hinsch Family Fund was established in 2015 by Scott and Margaret Hinsch’s children and their spouses, John and Marsha Hinsch and Linda and the late Bob Campbell. The awards honor Scott and Margaret’s legacy of service to the Piqua community.

“We are so humbled to share these awards in memory of my parents who loved and served Piqua all their lives,” John Hinsch said.

Each selected award winner will each receive a glass plaque, and the organizations that nominated the winners will each receive a $2,000 unrestricted grant to serve the Piqua community from The Hinsch Family Fund of The Piqua Community Foundation.

The volunteers who received the awards for their service in 2021 are:

  • Kenneth J. Grimes, Miami Valley Council, Boy Scouts of America
  • Edna Stiefel, Friends of the Piqua Parks

The deadline for nominations for volunteers making outstanding contributions in 2022 is January 23, 2023. To access the guidelines and nomination form for The Hinsch Community Service Awards, visit

Foundation awards $24,200 in Donnelly Advised grants

Aerial photo of Piqua by Bret Reid

The Piqua Community Foundation recently awarded grants from the Donnelly Advised Fund totaling $24,200 to 18 organizations that serve Piqua residents.

Richard Donnelly established the Donnelly Advised Fund, along with others at The Foundation, in 2008. The grant award decisions are made by the fund committee annually based upon community needs; there is no application process.

“The committee and I enjoy meeting in the fall each year to determine how best to utilize the fund to serve the Piqua community,” Donnelly said. “The awards we make represent a broad range projects that benefit Piqua residents and improve our community. It’s a true pleasure to share from the advised fund each year.”

The organizations receiving 2022 Donnelly Advised grants are:

  • American Legion Post 184 for the Veterans Elite Tribute Squad
  • American Legion Post 184 Ambulance Fund
  • The Bethany Center
  • The Edison Foundation for the nursing scholarship
  • The Forest Hill Cemetery Fund of The Piqua Community Foundation
  • Greene Street Church food pantry
  • The Little Kinger Fund of The Piqua Community Foundation
  • MainStreet Piqua for downtown flowers and Christmas celebrations
  • Miami County Dental Clinic
  • Miami County YMCA
  • Piqua Arts Council
  • Piqua Area Chamber Foundation for The Garden Tribe Schoolyard Garden
  • Piqua Civic Band
  • Piqua Compassion Network
  • Protecting Our Water Ways
  • Salvation Army for the needs bank and summer feeding program
  • Upper Miami Valley Young Life
  • YWCA Piqua

Melinda Sillman and Steve Schultz of St. Paul’s Church at The Bethany Center

Shawn Rickert, executive director of The Bethany Center in Piqua, said that the grant award received from the Donnelly Advised Fund supports the center’s soup kitchen and food pantry.

“Already this year, we have provided food for over 16,000 of our neighbors. Our work is made possible thanks to generous donors like Mr. Donnelly!”

To learn more about the Donnelly Funds and other programs of The Piqua Community Foundation, visit

Grant recipients honored, board members reelected at Foundation annual meeting

Emily E. Shawler, President, Board of Directors, The Piqua Community Foundation

The Piqua Community Foundation Life Trustees honored grant recipients and reelected directors to its board at the organization’s annual meeting on November 15.

The meeting serves as the annual gathering and organizational recap for The Foundation and included a tabulation of voting by Secretary/Treasurer Andrew Snyder, a financial report from Investment Committee chair Tony Wendeln and remarks about the past year from President Emily E. Shawler.

“We distributed a total of $1.2 million from all Foundation funds in 2021 through grant awards to charitable organizations serving our community’s residents and scholarship awards for local students furthering their education,” Shawler said. “We also welcomed The Piqua Catholic Future Fund, which will support special projects of Piqua Catholic School to ensure quality Catholic education opportunities in our community.”

2022 grant recipients of The Piqua Community Foundation

Distribution Committee co-chair Randi M. Pearson recognized organizational representatives receiving grant awards for programs serving Piqua residents in its spring and fall cycles in 2022 as well as through the 2021-2022 Pitch Piqua initiative. He noted that The Foundation has distributed $160,277 from the unrestricted funds of The Foundation in 2022.

“Gifts made to The Foundation’s annual giving campaign and through memorial contributions support the health of the unrestricted fund and allows the board to approve more grant dollars serving our community through our nonprofit partners,” Pearson said. “We have all seen how our nonprofits’ needs only continue to grow in scope and complexity. Your support helps us to keep funding the needs of the nonprofits serving our Piqua community.”

Nominating Committee chair Steven K. Staley presented the slate of candidates for reelection. The Life Trustees reelected the six incumbent directors who will serve three-year terms beginning January 1, 2023:

  • Michael E. Gutmann
  • Doreen Larson
  • Brandi Lawson
  • Beth H. Kazer
  • Andrew S. Monnin
  • Andrew Snyder

Executive Director Nikki Sherck and volunteer Lisa Yager, CASA/GAL of Miami County

CASA/GAL of Miami County Executive Director Nikki Sherck and volunteer Lisa Yager shared with the attendees how numerous grant awards from The Foundation in recent history have impacted the organization. The financial and volunteer needs of the organization continue to grow as the organization sees a sharp increase in the number of children needing assistance in abuse and neglect cases.

“They really have exemplified the importance of the work we do and the impact of the grant awards we are able to make from our unrestricted funds,” Shawler said following the CASA/GAL presentation. “We are so grateful for our donors and your commitment to making Piqua an even better place to call home.”

To see the full Board of Directors list, view Foundation grant recipients and learn more about The Foundation’s programs, visit

Foundation awards more than $67,000 in fall grant cycle

The Piqua Community Foundation awarded $67,127 to organizations that serve Piqua residents this month.

The distribution is part of The Foundation’s twice-annual standard grant cycles from unrestricted funds. The Foundation’s Distribution Committee makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval based on a grant application and review process.

The organizations awarded 2022 fall grants are:

  • Brukner Nature Center – Owl Extraordinaire program
  • Child Care Choices – Story Lady program
  • The Edison Foundation – Feed Me Market C for Piqua High School students
  • The Edison Foundation – microscopes for biology students
  • Isaiah’s Place, Inc. – playground equipment for reunification visits and therapy
  • Johnston Farm Friends Council – John Osborne square piano restoration
  • Mark’s Bike Drive – bikes for Piqua area youth
  • Miami County YMCA – Piqua branch capital campaign
  • Miami Valley Veterans Museum – replacement of preservation materials
  • Piqua Catholic School – multimedia production project
  • Piqua City Schools Piqua Central Intermediate School –headphones with microphones
  • Piqua City Schools Piqua Junior High School – behavioral regulation space
  • Piqua City Schools Piqua Junior High School – Carillon Historical Park field trip
  • Piqua City Schools Piqua Junior High School – pride program
  • Piqua Public Library – Piqua History Central digitization project
  • Upper Valley Medical Center Foundation – community health screening
  • YWCA Piqua – technology replacements and upgrades

The grant awards were made to a variety of organization service sectors, all with a demonstrated impact on Piqua residents. Members of the Distribution Committee visited three of the recipient organizations to learn more about their programs and impact — Child Care Choices, Miami Valley Veterans Museum and Piqua Public Library.

The Child Care Choices visit allowed the team the opportunity to watch an educational presentation by Piqua Story Lady Sally Beam at Play Learn Grow Child Care. The children were treated to a storytelling experience followed by a related activity.

The committee members also met with the leadership teams to learn more about the Miami Valley Veterans Museum’s usage by Piqua residents as well as Piqua Public Library’s plans to digitize records with a scanner that preserves the original documents while making information widely available.

“These grant distribution visits allow our committee members who review and make recommendations on grant applications the opportunity to get to know our area nonprofits better,” Foundation Executive Director Michelle Perry said. “We value these visits as a way to connect more deeply with the charitable organizations we serve to best understand their needs in service to the Piqua community.”

The Piqua Community Foundation’s next grant cycle has a March 31, 2023, deadline. To learn more about the grant and scholarship programs of The Piqua Community Foundation, visit

1 2 3 4 5 11